Monday, November 24, 2008

Commuting on foot...

As we're gear up for our next Green Dinner on December 6th, I'd like to share this story from the Post -- it follows Arlington resident Peter Owens from his office in DC to his home near Court House, almost a 6 mile/2 hour walk -- which got me thinking about our discussion topic: space.

How different is our experience of surrounding spaces if it's through a walk versus in a car?

I always forget how "small" DC is: from my apartment in Arlington, it's a 4.3 mile walk to GWU. That sounds doable (walking seems so much less intimidating than biking for some reason). My commute to work (all in Arlington) would be a little more than 4 miles as well...doesn't seem so bad, maybe I'll try it come spring :) Plus Google Maps now does walking directions!

Solvitur ambulando.


Sabira said...

It is SO different when we walk to your destination rather than drive!!!

Once, my brother and I got on the wrong bus, and we got off at a stop that looked most familiar before the bus drove further away from our home. On our walk home, I began to notice little plants growing along the sidewalk, the branches that hit your face if they were too low, seeds that stick to you and make awesome rattles, a lone tree in the middle of the once-farmland that faces our town home complex...

We always speed down that small rode, but that day, the typical 3.5 minutes drive turned into a 15-20 minute walk, and it hit me how we just speed by everything to save time, yet miss so much! Walking truly opens your eyes to the space that we live in...

sb said...

With an average, comfortable walking pace of 3 miles an hour, you could have some really nice walks to and from work.

And if you wanted to bike, you could easily quadruple your pace to 12 miles an hour, and your commute becomes 20 minutes: totally do-able.

As a fair-weather bike commuter and regular walker/runner, I find foot, bike, and car travel all significantly different. In my daily jaunts, it's the difference between four miles an hour, 12 miles an hour, and 30 miles an hour. (Average speeds around town)

In general, the faster you're going, the more sharply attuned you are to potential obstacles and threats. The slower you go, the more you can enjoy - or at least note - your surroundings.

Solvitur ambulando indeed!

Sanjana said...

sabira -- isn't that kind of a fun and scary experience at the same time? getting on the wrong bus (or missing your stop and getting off at a later stop) and then having to find your way home. roads that you could navigate in a car with your eyes closed suddenly become much harder to figure out on foot...maybe because we know that a wrong turn will cost us physically!

sb, thanks for stopping by! (and for letting me steal your latin phrases ;) i've heard of your bike commutes to campus. have you seen the construction on the OR Turnpike -- apparently they're adding bike lanes and a sidewalk :-O i can finally (safely) walk to the weigels down the road, yay!